Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 153

Ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky yesterday said his new book titled "The Last Blow On Russia" was a warning to the West against "the continuation of attempts to destroy Russia." "If these attempts are not stopped, an international catastrophe will inevitably follow," Zhirinovsky said at his book’s presentation. He predicted that his party would win the December 17 elections if the voters are not deceived, and that Russia will have only two large parties in the future: his own Liberal-Democratic Party and one based on the "Russia is Our Home" electoral bloc. Zhirinovsky also anticipated that he would run for president in 1996 and face president Boris Yeltsin in the runoff; and he thought that Yeltsin would renounce his presidential powers in favor of "a younger and more dynamic leader." He said he hoped to head the country until the year 2017, whereupon he would transfer powers to a Conservative Party so that he could "rest for a year or two." He said he was sure that, after two years, the masses would clamor for his return to office. Zhirinovsky refused to answer questions asked in French, which he called "the language of aggressors bombing innocent Serbians." (14)

Recent poll data suggest that Zhirinovsky’s constituency is made up primarily of the country’s resentful losers: the unemployed, workers untrained or unfit for the new economy, active duty and retired military officers and rank and file, plus some elements of the Russian "mafia" who like his anti-Western defiance. However, many who voted for him in the last election now say they will not do so again, largely because they see him as just another "politician" who did not keep pre-election promises. His LDPR is thus unlikely to get the 30 percent of the vote Zhirinovsky has predicted. Most recent polls give it around 7 percent. Zhirinovsky intimated a few days ago that he would run for president next June if his party gets over 15 percent of the vote in the Duma elections.

Russian Signal Encourages Baltic Nonalignment.